Sep 172012

Owen Courreges

I think the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWB) needs to adopt a new motto to shift attention away from its staggering waste, corruption and general incompetence.   That motto should be: “Hey, at least we don’t still have a horseshoer on staff!”

It recently became news that Detroit Water and Sewerage Department actually still employs a horseshoer, although it has no horses.  Apparently this man does nothing but collect a paycheck, and a decent one at that — $29,245 in salary and about $27,000 in benefits.  Apparently union rules keep the man on staff, and the union isn’t budging. Continue reading »

Sep 142012

A rendering of a two-block portion of the improvements to General Pershing Street. (via the City of New Orleans)

New, wider sidewalks with handicapped ramps at the corners and a resurfaced road with better crosswalk markings are all headed to a four-block stretch of General Pershing Street through Broadmoor in a $250,000 project that broke ground this week, city officials said. Continue reading »

Sep 142012

“We’re not moving as aggressively, as we had hoped that we would have finished the entire first pass and most of the second pass by now,” New Orleans Deputy Mayor of Operations Michelle Thomas told reporter Tania Dall and our partners at WWL-TV in a report about Uptown residents’ frustrations at the slow pace of removal of Hurricane Isaac debris. “But we are confident that we’re going to get it done in the next couple of days.”

Sep 132012

A document governing Tulane University’s use of its new on-campus stadium — including what types of events will be held there and other issues such as parking, lighting and noise — “will likely be finalized by mid to late September,” according to an article by Jessica Appelbaum posted Thursday on the Tulane Hullabaloo student newspaper website.

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Sep 122012

LaToya Cantrell, right, answers a question while Eric Strachan and Dana Kaplan listen at Freret Neighbors United meeting on Tuesday evening. (Robert Morris,

What was initially billed as political “speed dating” — a chance to meet with individual candidates for the District B race one-on-one — grew into a full-blown debate at a Freret community meeting Thursday night, with three City Council hopefuls trading their ideas on blight, crime, education and other issues in the first such event of the race. Continue reading »

Sep 122012

2505 Napoleon, in March and again in June.

Jean-Paul Villere

Seven years ago the Crescent City got tossed on its backside, the likes of which many believed just might be too much for the Big Easy to really rebound from; why would anyone reinvest in a little troubled city below sea level?  Logic and heritage debates aside, today the tone of recovery happens to be very much on the uptick, despite folding into it an oil- and dispersant-crippled Gulf as well as the dizzying highs and lows of our beloved sports teams.  Even a massive implosion of the lending market in the last four years did not shake the steadfast commitment to rebuild from newbies and returnees alike.  In short, not only are home values stable and improving, investors seeking a viable flip are doing so and how.  Case in point: 2505 Napoleon. Continue reading »

Sep 102012

A piece of plywood covers a hole in the cement at the corner of Freret and Jefferson. City officials are debating whether this “bumpout” installed during the streetscape project impedes traffic and should be removed, said leaders of The New Freret business association. (Robert Morris,

City officials remain unsatisfied with the quality of the work done to the sidewalks at corners along the Freret corridor, but they have yet to decide what exactly they will fix or how long the repairs will take. Continue reading »

Sep 102012

Owen Courreges

What follows is one big “I told you so.”

Last month, at the August 20th meeting of the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee, a proposal to demolish the mansion located at 4706 St. Charles Avenue was denied. The mansion, built in 1887, appears to be in sound condition and could easily be returned to commerce.

Typically, when a well-funded party wants to bulldoze a historic mansion on New Orleans’ signature avenue, they succeed. As I noted in my previous column, “How to Tear Down Anything in Three Simple Steps,” the key to destroying the fabric of this city’s history is getting the neighborhood association on your side. For those with money and influence, this should be a relatively simple task. Continue reading »

Sep 062012

The former yoga studio now slated to become a Mellow Mushroom pizza restaurant on Oak Street, photographed in June. (Robert Morris,

Two new restaurants planned for opposite ends of Uptown — the Mellow Mushroom pizzeria on Oak Street, and Mais Arepas Colombian diner on Carondelet in Central City — both passed the City Council with flying colors Thursday morning, as council members lined up to express their enthusiasm for both projects. Continue reading »

Sep 062012

Linemen from Illinois replace a broken electrical pole on Napoleon Avenue in Broadmoor on Friday, Aug. 31, amid widespread outages following Hurricane Isaac. (Robert Morris,

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Now that the winds of Hurricane Isaac have blown through our lives, as we fill out insurance claims and apply for recovery funds, we should also look back at the performances of public officials and private companies such as Entergy during the storm. Continue reading »

Sep 042012

A utility worker makes repairs Monday from a bucket truck on Tchoupitoulas between Henry Clay and Calhoun. (photo courtesy of Nicole Williamson, via Twitter)

Entergy had all the reason in the world to bow out of a Tuesday-night presentation before the Audubon Riverside Neighborhood Association scheduled before Hurricane Isaac, group leaders noted. So when a manager from the utility showed up and began taking questions, the small audience gave him a gentler reception than the Entergy CEO had received before the City Council earlier in the day. Continue reading »

Sep 042012

Residents of St. Mary Street near Prytania in the Lower Garden District smile and celebrate with an Entergy worker after power is restored Monday around a major tree that fell. (Robert Morris,

After restoring electricity to the last large neighborhood tracts Sunday evening, Entergy workers spent Monday focusing on individual, block- or address-level outages, and reported more than 94 percent of customers in the city had been restored by Monday evening. Continue reading »

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